Film Review – Frida. Viva La Vida (2019)

Frida Kahlo was one of the greatest and most provocative artists of the 20th Century. Her paintings which were heavily inspired by her life and her identity were bold, thought-provoking and inspired people from all over the world. She lived a life without fear. She was a Mexican disabled bisexual woman with strong political views who lived life to the full and didn’t care what anybody thought of her. Kahlo was an inspiration and her influence is seen even today, not only in other artists from Mexico, but from all over.

Frida. Viva La Vida is a documentary about Frida Kahlo’s life and her work, looking into what made her art so special while coupling it with a biography of her life and archive footage of Kahlo herself. Narrated by Asia Argento, Frida. Viva La Vida attempts to cover all aspects of her life and what made her the woman that she was.

However, there are certain things that people who want to watch a documentary about Frida Kahlo must consider before going forward. For those who want to know about Frida Kahlo from scratch, then maybe Frida. Viva La Vida may be a good starting point, but for those who already know a great deal, then this documentary may not go that deep beneath the surface. Because although the documentary does mention Kahlo’s near fatal traffic accident, it neglects other aspects of her life such as being born disabled (having both Spina Bifida and Polio) plus it skims over her bisexuality.

There’s also the issue that director, Giovanni Troilo, does seem to be rather distracted by showing off his own artistic flair as told through flashbacks and scenes that frankly have little to do with Kahlo or her work. Not to mention the inclusion of Asia Argento who may be a recognizable face to some, but is an unusual choice considering that she’s not Mexican and that every, so often the camera does likes to do a slow zooming shot of her intensely talking to camera.

There are some interesting things like the archive footage, the tour of the places Kahlo lived and the interpretations of her art. However, for those who are looking for more of an insight then Frida. Viva La Vida may not be for you.

Documentary | USA/Italy, 2019 | NR | 25th October 2021 (UK) | DVD, VOD |Dazzler Media | Dir.Giovanni Troilo | Asia Argento, Hilda Trujillo Soto